Buyer from Asia snaps up rare bottle of whisky for record US$1.1 million at Bonhams auction

The 60-year old Macallan is one of the world’s most sought-after whiskies

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 9:10am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 October, 2018, 8:32pm

An extremely rare bottle of whisky has been sold to a private collector from Asia for a new world record at auction in Edinburgh.

The 60-year-old Macallan Valerio Adami 1926 was sold Wednesday at Bonhams for a total £848,750 (US$1.1 million) beating a previous bottle from the same cask that was sold in Hong Kong in May for £814,081. The buyer bid by phone, Bonhams said

Such whiskies are collectors’ items because of their rarity and will probably not actually be drunk, said Martin Green, whisky specialist at the auctioneer.

“It’s the Rolls-Royce of malts,” he said.

“Obviously we don’t know what will happen to it, but anyone who can spend around a million pounds for a bottle of whisky could afford to drink it. But it’s an object of beauty in its own right – almost a museum piece.”

Bonhams now holds the record for the three most valuable bottles of whisky ever sold at auction.

The whisky was distilled in 1926 and kept in a cask until it was bottled in 1986.

Just 24 bottles were produced with labels designed by two famous pop artists -12 by Peter Blake and 12 affixed with the Valerio Adami label which features on the bottle sold in Edinburgh on Wednesday.

It was bought by the vendor direct from the Macallan distillery for an undisclosed sum in 1994 and was part of a wider collection from the same owner offered in the sale.

It is not known how many of them still exist but one is thought to have been destroyed in an earthquake in Japan in 2011, and another is believed to have been opened and drunk.

Charles MacLean, a Scotch whisky expert, said: “Whisky is the third most popular alternative investment during periods of stock market uncertainty, behind vintage cars and fine art, and its appreciation value has been higher than gold in recent years.”

Additional reporting by Reuters